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tv   Nightly Business Report  PBS  May 28, 2012 4:30pm-5:00pm PDT

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>> this is n.b.r. >> susie: good evening. i'm susie gharib. they serve and protect, but when it comes to hiring, veterans aren't always a priority. >> tom: i'm tom hudson. this memorial day, we take an in-depth look at the employment picture facing the nation's 23 million veterans. >> susie: the unemployment rate for young veterans, at over 12%, is far more than the national average. we take you to programs working to change that. >> tom: that and more tonight on "n.b.r." "nightly business report" is brought to you by:
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captioning sponsored by wpbt >> tom: thousands of military men and women will end their service to our country and return home to the civilian workforce. susie, they'll be doing so in a tough economy. >> senlisted people, the searchr work can be a new challenge. but many american businesses are finding opportunity in that challenge. by hiring veterans, they get experienced team players chock full of skills. as suzanne pratt reports, even wall street is taking a fresh look at vets. >> reporter: this was chris perkins eight years ago in iraq, an artillery officer in the u.s. marine corps. this is perkins today, at work on a citi trading floor in manhattan where he oversees a team that provides safeguards for the derivatives industry. for perkins, joining the ranks on wall street after the military was relatively seamless; his first job was at lehman brothers.
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>> i was probably one of the earlier combat veterans that they had seen, and the one thing about wall street is that it's very patriotic in nature. i was welcomed with open arms at every single firm i interviewed with. people had time. >> reporter: unfortunately, many other veterans find navigating the civilian job market more difficult. the unemployment rate for 18- year-old to 24-year-old vets is currently 18.6%. that's much higher than the rate for all people in that age group. sherrill curtis helps soldiers transition from military jobs to civilian jobs. >> they're lacking on the back end when they come out, that intensive type of targeted focus on just job search. career, what's my selected choice and job search. i have been talking for years about boot camp on the way in and boot camp on the way out. >> reporter: for that reason, citi, credit suisse, deutsche
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bank, goldman sachs and bank of america came together a few years ago to form veterans on wall street, or vows. the banks work to mentor and hire former military men and women for jobs in financial services. vows also raises money for veterans organizations. this is its first gala last year at the intrepid museum in new york. perkins says vets are a natural fit for wall street. >> when we're doing this hiring, it's not about charity. it's good business because veterans bring with them so many wonderful qualities. >> reporter: investment banker john toronto echoes those sentiments. toronto is a former marine platoon commander, although his tour of duty was during more peaceful times in former yugoslavia he says many soldiers are generally good leaders inclined towards teamwork and have integrity and maturity. >> when you're in the military, you're faced with situations where you have to make good, quick, practical decisions with less than perfect information, often in very chaotic environments. and those skills translate pretty well to wall street. >> reporter: it's impossible to say how many veterans are
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currently employed in financial services. that's because vets aren't required to put military duty on their resumes. but it looks like there could be a lot more vets on wall street in the future. suzanne pratt, "nightly business report," new york. >> susie: there are a growing number of companies like home depot, general electric, merck, amazon and walmart that are recruiting combat veterans. so is mckinsey, the big consulting firm. so what are the benefits of hiring former military personnel? that's what i asked two vets now working at the firm. tommy jacobs served in bosnia, kosovo and afghanistan before joining mckinsey. and elizabeth mcnally did two tours of active army duty in iraq. >> from mckinsey, what we're looking for is somebody who can take a tough problem, pull it apart, and solve it in a very independent way. we're looking for somebody who
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can be a pure light counselor to a senior executive, and looking for somebody who adds to the team room and participates in a good way. those three characteristics you find in almost any veteran because of what it takes to be successful in the military alignsa the that level very nicely with what we're looking for at mackenzie. >> you think of leadership skills with a former military personnel, but what are some of the other attributes that military have gone through? >> the capacity for hard work. determination, teamwork. working in ambiguous situations. and all of those things serve one well at mackenzie. aror at other corporations when you get out. >> susie: other people served at the armed forces and looking for a job might not have a lot of business experience on the resume, they might not have an mba.
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does that matter to you? >> no. i think we can train people. we have mba training programs. we have all sorts of on the job training. and all of that can make up for a gap in knowing how accounting works or financing works. what we like is the intrinzics that they bring, lime liz was talking, the initiative, the hard work, the desire to get >> susie: what was it about your experience in the military that allowed you to be hired at mckinsey and do so well? >> i worked in iraq, and you could liken him to a ceo with seven different boards of directors in a hugely complex mission and dispersed organization when he was commanding the search forces, and being able to see him and work with him and support him in that situation, i think has served me very well as i now help companies navigate
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complex challenges and complex situations and think about change. >> susie: so both of you served in the armed services for many years. what was the transition like leaving the war and coming to work in the business world? >> first of all, there's no bullets which makes it better. >> the values of mackenzie were similar to the values of the military. defining values by the success of your client. a selflessness of putting the team before yourself at times. all of things made the transition easy. for me the transition was mainly i'm doing more work with numbers than flying helicopters, and doing a lotted more work to persuade somebody to do something different than cooking up a plan and executing it as best we ask >> susie: same with you, elizabeth. >> similar. my last job was working on a
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small team in a focused problem in an intense environment. all thaf is similar to what we do at mackenzie every day. we wear a different uniform and use slightly different language. but at the end of the day i'm using a lot of the same skills as when i was wearing a u.s. army uniform. >> tom: still ahead: from teaching to healthcare, when it comes to hiring, some industries are finding that veterans bring the right stuff to the job. >> susie: 100,000 troops are coming home from iraq and afghanistan this year. sure, some will stay in the military, but many will be searching for civilian jobs. now, transitioning to corporate america hasn't been easy for many veterans. sylvia hall takes us to a recruiting firm helping veterans tackle the challenge.
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>> reporter: in any military unit anywhere in the world, you'll find a range of jobs as diverse as the people who hold them. from engineers to supply chain managers, to chefs, nurses and lawyers, america's troops can do a lot. ravaire prince spent 12 years as an electrician in the navy. he's been deployed across the globe, from japan to iraq. now it's time to bring those skills home to a civilian job. it's a bigger task than you might think. that's where orion international, a military recruiting firm, comes in. >> i know there's a lot out there for me. i didn't know the scale of what was out there for me, as far as the different types of electrical jobs that are in the market. >> reporter: he's joined more than 100 other veterans in suburban baltimore for a hiring conference where orion links employers with qualified job seekers from the military. >> each candidate here has about six job interviews. the challenge in those interviews is to take a resume full of military experience and help corporate employers understand what it all means. >> some of the challenges that i've found while looking on my own were a lot of civilian
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companies that don't have a lot of interaction with the military don't necessarily understand what we can bring to the table. >> reporter: the language used in the military is very different from the language used in a boardroom, leaving some job seekers feeling like they're translating their experience into a whole new language. so, as part of recruiting, orion teaches veterans how to talk about their skills in new ways. >> most candidates have never had an interview before. they usually talk about their team, and it's very hard for them to talk about their skills that they've acquired in the military. and it's hard for them to talk about what they did and what they are all about, as opposed to their unit or their organization. >> reporter: kevin pleasant is hiring here and says most of the veterans do lack industry experience, but he says the qualities they have stand out. >> the military people with their leadership, core values, even with the enlisted ranks, all the way up to the senior officers, those people have
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established leadership throughout their careers, and therefore they can make very good candidates within our project goals. >> reporter: the firm places up to 3,000 veterans each year and has seen an upswing in veteran hiring lately. but as the pentagon cuts spending and more troops look for civilian work, they hope more companies will make the commitment to hiring them. sylvia hall, "nightly business report," anne arundel county, maryland. >> many of our nation's schools commited to hiring former servicemembers find a job. it's part of an initiative called troops features. in phoenix, we're introduced to a woman that went from serving her country to serving in >> reporter: the start of another day in the classroom of jeanne erickson, an e.s.l. high school class in phoenix, arizona. the students in the class at alhambra high school are from different parts of the world and in different grades, all in their second year of learning english. students like sophomore zing
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neeme: >> miss erickson is the best my teacher is that she help me a lot to learn english. >> reporter: gustavo benjunme, a freshman, also likes mrs. erickson because he says she keeps the class orderly. >> i think this class is the best, the best class, because everybody's quiet and do whatever the teacher tells us to do, and, yeah, she's a good teacher. >> reporter: the orderliness gustavo notices in her class has its roots in her previous career, the military erickson served in the army national guard and the army reserves for 20 years before going into teaching, a profession she loves. >> just seeing them grow from when i get them in august until they leave in may, the progress is just phenomenal. >> reporter: erickson got support from the national program troops to teachers, funded by the u.s. department of education and administered through state programs. troops to teachers takes veterans from service to the country, to service in the classroom.
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>> it just gave me another support area. >> reporter: erickson says her military background helps her in the classroom. >> the discipline plus the flexibility. everyday, it seems like it's going to be the same thing, but it's not. >> reporter: troops to teachers does not place teachers or educate them, but instead facilitates their hiring and provides some financial assistance for those who need additional education to meet certification requirements. those accepted by the program have four-year degrees. ashford harrigan is the arizona manager of troops to teachers and a product of the program. >> and the purpose was to fill the void in our high need areas-- math and science and special education-- and those types of environments and school districts that needs them. >> reporter: troops to teachers has placed six veterans at alhambra high school, 521 in arizona and 15,000 nationally.
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>> susie: healthcare has been one of the few bright spots in the economy in recent years, and that's helped the industry become one of the best at hiring veterans. many hospitals like the cleveland clinic have found the armed forces provide the ideal training and preparation for patient care. erika miller reports. >> reporter: toby cosgrove wears a suit these days as the c.e.o. of the cleveland clinic, but, during the vietnam war, he was surgeon in the airforce, earning a bronze star for heroism. >> it helped me a great deal in running this hospital. one of the things that i saw was troops being moved from the battle site to forward hospitals to back line hospitals and subsequently out of the country. and we've adopted that same sort of thing. >> reporter: so it has a fleet of aircraft and ambulances to move patients to the best
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facility for their needs. the hospital also actively recruits veterans, and not just for patriotic reasons. >> we know that the military has probably thought more about leadership over hundreds of years than probably any other organization, and they do a great job of it. they do a lot of training. they have a very right criteria of how they promote people. >> welcome to the clinic. how may i help you? >> reporter: antwon peterson is the first person many patients meet when they come for emergency treatment. >> i love it! i love it! helping people, helping sick people, put smiles on their faces when they don't feel well. i love it. >> reporter: he's a former navy firefighter and says that experience prepared him well for his current job. >> in the military, you are around all different cultures, all different backgrounds, and you meet people from all different types of walks of life. >> reporter: many hospitals like to hire veterans because they have experience in high pressure situations and work well as part of a team.
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harold overton is a former army medic. >> i was in the service for four years. now i am a monitoring tech. and i... i monitor arythmias for patients on different floors. i really believe my background has helped me become more focused. >> reporter: the cleveland clinic was one of the first hospitals to sign an employer partnership with the military, but that alone wasn't enough. it also had to train managers on how to interview vets because they're often uncomfortable talking about themselves. >> everyone doesn't really understand what a veteran can bring to the table. so you do have to sort of educate managers so they understand how to interview a veteran, how their skills apply and can translate to a clinical setting. >> reporter: but the hospital says the extra efforts are worth it. >> these people have sacrificed for our country, and i know
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coming back from a war, it's difficult to integrate yourself back from society. i had that problem, and many other people in my era had exactly the same problem, so we should welcome them back. >> reporter: erika miller, "nightly business report," new york. >> tom: active duty service members and veterans have unique financial challenges: from deployments and frequent moves to facing the loss of a steady paycheck upon leaving the service. holly petraeus heads up the office of service-member affairs at consumer financial protection bureau. >> holly, thousands of soldiers have returned home from service in iraq and afghanistan. what do they face financially when they leave the service? >> well, they really do have some challenges, obviously, the first one is going to be
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employment. what are they going to do when they get out? that's something that they need to be planning for obviously before they get to that point when they walk out the gate. >> tom: certainly tough to plan for that when you're on active duty in a war zone. what kind of a time frame should a soon to be veteran be thinking about for the move to private enterprise? >> you should start thinking about it at least a year prior. with the current economy, you need to be sure you have a plan in place, and frankly, you have a cushion. if you don't find the job right away when you get out. >> tom: important to have a rainy day fund. and the defense dptd finds a big difference in composition for actedive military. 48% in in cash, and over half, 52% in in benefits, like health, education and a pension. that's significantly different when they leave the military, isn't it? >> it's definitely a big change, and frankly, for those
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who retire from the military too. they do get a portion of their pay, but it's base pay, and doesn't include those benefits and allowances thaw mentioned. so you definitely have to get a clear eyed look at that before you plan to get out. >> tom: so help the veterans get a clear eyed look at it. what kind of preparation is there for financial life after the military? >> well, the department of defense is working really hard, i think on a transition assistance program, and in fact, my office, the office of service member affairs recently helped review a curriculum that they have for people planing to get out. >> what's see here is the uniform code for military justice requires essentially a good credit. is that more difficult in this time of financial stress and a weak job market after the military? >> i think what you're referring to is the number one cause of security clearance is being revoked at this point,
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and it's for bad credit, and that can be important for someone when they get out as l because many of the really good defense related jobs require a security clearance. so that's something that make its extra important for members to have good credit. >> always good to have a high credit score regardless of in service or after service. holly petraeus, we appreciate. holly with the cfpb. >> susie: in the past decade, more than two million americans have served in the military. some are finding work in the skilled trades when they return to civilian life. diane eastabrook introduces us to one unique program that begins training soldiers for jobs as welders before they're even discharged. >> reporter: two years ago, vincent haynes was wielding a wrench instead of a blowtorch as a marine mechanic in korea and japan, but the 24-year-old knew he didn't want to fix machines after he left the military. >> i did a little bit of welding
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in high school metals class, and it's just something that i'd really like to get into. >> reporter: it turned out the united association, the union representing plumbers, pipe fitters and welders, was looking for veterans just like him. so now haynes can be found hovering over a drafting table in a classroom... >> what compass direction are we traveling from the center of this 90 to this center 90? east. >> reporter: ...getting instruction on a training floor... >> we'll have you clean up this. >> reporter: ...and working on- site as an apprentice welder. >> when i came in here right off the bat, they were real nice, got me set up right away, had me working in two days. they teach me a lot. >> reporter: the u.a. launched its v.i.p. program, veterans in piping, to meet the growing demand for welders and address the high unemployment rate among vets. >> hello. i'm bill hitte, general president of the united association. i want to personally invite you to become a part of our team. >> reporter: the u.a. recruits and trains soldiers before they're discharged from the military. haynes trained for 16 weeks at camp pendleton in california before relocating to the chicago area. haynes has one year of training
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under his belt with u.a. local 597. he's making about $25 an hour. when he completes the four-year apprenticeship program, his hourly wage will nearly double. paying bills was a big concern for the former marine when his tour was ending, but not anymore. >> we've got a lot of work in this lal. there's a lot going on, highly trained professionals, and i don't think any company can offer anything else better than this. >> reporter: so far, the four- year-old v.i.p. program has trained about 200 veterans. instructor mike galfano says local 597 is desperate for welders because of its aging membership. he says veterans make great recruits. >> we find that they are always on time, actually early when they come to school and do our classes. they are very responsible hard working. >> reporter: haynes took great pride in being a marine. now he finds great pride in being a welder. >> welding, it's kind of like an art. it's definitely something you have to work at. >> reporter: diane eastabrook, "nightly business report,"
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mokena, illinois. >> tom: and finally, we end tonight with one vet's story about returning to the job market and working toward plans he made with a fallen friend. 25-year-old josh berlongieri plays with his two-year-old son and his wife on a sunny morning in hollywood, florida. after five years in the army, including 15 months in iraq, he has a full-time job and is going to college. but it almost didn't turn out this way. berlongieri was a specialist infantryman in the army. on september 4, 2007, he was in the second truck of a five- vehicle convoy driving along route predator, one of the most dangerous roads in baghdad, when he heard a blast. >> we look up, and the front lead truck is completely disintegrated. blown up, smoke everywhere. people are screaming, and you
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can see everything going on. >> tom: four soldiers died in the blast, including berlongieri's best friend, specialist david lane. >> i was the second one that got out there, and i pulled david lane out, what i thought was him. it was only half of him. >> tom: this is berlongieri a few hours after the blast, remembering the fallen soldiers. he and his friend planned to open an auto repair shop after the military. they even had t-shirts printed up while they were in iraq. >> september 4th was a life changer. like, i don't take anything for granted anymore. you don't know how it is until you don't have it. i guess you could say. >> tom: berlongieri was injured in that attack. after surgery and months on crutches, he was given a medical discharge with honor, but he found it tough finding work after the job security of the army. >> you know you're going to have a paycheck, you're going to have a house. you have your full medical. and you get out, and you're like, "okay, i just got all that taken away from me. what i am supposed to do?" it... it's very rough. >> tom: berlongieri went on to get security licenses and now makes more than $12 an hour as a
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bank security guard. and he's studying criminal justice in college. >> again! >> again? had i not gone in the military... yes, i was disciplined, but at the same time i was living paycheck to paycheck, not knowing what was going to happen the next day. we have a very nice saving account. we're young-- i'm not even 26-- but we've learned, save. not stress, but save. every little bit counts. >> tom: do you ever think back to those plans you were making with david in iraq? >> always. i still want to do that shop later. it will still be called berlane automotive, and it will have his picture, and it will say in membrance of him. >> tom: we thank the vets for th >> susie: have a great memorial
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day holiday everyone. and you, too, tom. >> tom: good night, susie, and everyone. we'll see you online at and back here tomorrow night. "nightly business report" is brought to you by: captioning sponsored by wpbt captioned by media access group at wgbh
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